American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Central Indiana Chapter
Breaking the Silence
AFSP- Indiana
July 2010 Newsletter
Dear AFSP Indiana Supporter 
We hope this newsletter finds you enjoying summer, and we hope your July 4th holiday was filled with family, friends and beautiful fireworks in celebration of OUR Country.  Please take a moment to review the newsletter content, and we hope that you will sign up to participate in one of the Out of the Darkness walks this fall in Indiana.  If you are interested in volunteering with the Chapter for events or various committees, please don't hesitate to contact us (Chapter contact information is listed at the end of this letter).  Survivors of Suicide Loss: We encourage you to become involved.  As those who have survived a breast cancer diagnosis and those who have lost a loved one to breast cancer have become the voice and driving force for research, education and awareness; it is OUR voices (survivors of suicide loss) joined with those who are living with depression and those who have attempted to take their own lives that will Silence the Stigma of depressive illnesses and drive research to improve understanding, detection and treatment.  Our community starts here...

 walk logo2010 Out of the Darkness Community Walks in Indiana

 We are about 2 months away from our 2010 Indiana Out of the Darkness Community walks.  We welcome your participation and hope that you will find community in attending.  By attending one (or several) of the Indiana walks, you are helping to silence the stigma of depression and suicide, which often leaves many suffering in silence.  The walk helps those in need find strength in a community of individuals who care about their struggles and helps those looking for resources make the right connections.  Financially supporting the walks by collecting donations from family and friends, or making a donation yourself, will ensure that we are, on a continual basis, able to provide education/awareness programs and campaigns in our communities, create and maintain resources and services for survivors of suicide loss, provide training to volunteers within our Indiana communities, extend educational materials and trainings to our community High Schools and Colleges, provide advocacy opportunities to drive public policy for suicide prevention legislation, and Nationally fund MUCH NEEDED research to better understand the brain and illnesses of the brain.  Research is a vital component to our mission.  Without research, we would not see improvements in detection and treatment of depressive illnesses.  Please help us Silence the Stigma in every way possible!
 Will you join us?
register online at today. 
 search: Indiana
Indianapolis -September 11, 2010
Porter County (Chesterton)- September 12, 2010
Benton County (Fowler)- September 19, 2010
Northwest IN (Munster)- September 25, 2010
Richmond - September 25, 2010
Bloomington - October 10, 2010
National Survivors of Suicide Day
 2007 statsNational Survivors of Suicide Day is a day of healing for those who have lost someone to suicide. It was created by U.S. Senate resolution in 1999 through the efforts of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who lost his father to suicide. Every year, AFSP sponsors an event to provide an opportunity for the survivor community to come together for support, healing, information and empowerment.
Save the Date: It's always the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year it is November 20, 2010.
For sites in Indiana (Indianapolis has been secure, however, it is not posted to the site yet)
A continually updated list of participating cities can be found here. If there isn't a site in your area, please consider organizing one. All of the information you need to get started is righthere. If there is already a site in your community, just send an email to the contact person listed -- they can always use more help.
If you are interested in hosting a Survivor Day Event, please notify the chapter of your plans so that we can help promote your event site and get you literature to have available for your attendees. 
 Hoosier Survivor Spotlight - Heather Brown

By Heather D. Brown (Terre Haute, IN)


One year after my graduation from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana, I found myself being led into the psychiatric ward clapping my hands and shouting, "Show me the Money!!!"

            I spent the longest night of my life in the padded room, singing at the top of my lungs, trying to fight the tranquilizers they gave me.  I had no idea what was going on, or why I was in there, I just wanted out.  It wasn't long before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, or manic-depression.  That night; August 16, 1997, would mark the beginning of my lifelong battle with extreme mood swings that ranged from psychotic manic episodes to soul-wrenching depression.  I have since been hospitalized almost a dozen times from 1996-2007.

            In 2001, I survived not one, but two suicide attempts, thesecond of which put me on a respirator for 2 days, and coincidentally I regained consciousness onSeptember 11, 2001.  I was so thankful to be alive after 9/11, that I felt a sense of responsibility to share my story and hope that I could help convince at least some of the approximately 34,000 people who commit suicide each year that suicide is not the way out.  I suppose for me it hit home more so because I survived on that particular day; September 11, when so many others lost their lives.

            Family members of suicide are often left wondering why, and as a two-time survivor, I have to tell you that I did not plan to overdose either time, and that is the worst part. My whole life was almost gone in a split second decision because my mind had given up and was tired of fighting the constant battle.  I no longer had a say in the matter.

            Shortly after my first hospitalization, I started writing about my roller coaster ride that had become my life after I was diagnosed.  12 long years later, I finally finished my book; Big Crowd at the Crazy House, which offers people struggling with bipolar disorder a backstage pass inside the mind of someone who has suffered through the extreme highs and lows of mania and depression, taken almost every medication available, gained 95 pounds from taking Lithium, and then lost it because I had the knowledge and willpower to do so.  It helps the friends and family members tremendously, so they know what to expect when a person is having an episode.

            I know there aren't always "signs" when someone is suicidal.  I can honestly tell you I did not plan on trying to kill myself.  I don't really remember anything leading up to the moments before my attempts.  Just being aware if you have a family member or a friend who is depressed or you think might be suicidal and knowing how to best help them is important  Ensure that they have someone they can talk to and be completely honest with, never let the person feel like they have nobody to turn to.

            For all of you who have lost someone to suicide, words cannot express how sorry I am, and I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through.  I have had plenty of time over to past few years to put myself in my family's shoes.  To think about what I would do if one of them killed themselves and I had to live the rest of my life without them, and miss them, and wonder why?  To never get to tell them goodbye or that I loved them ever again.  I had a chance to think long and hard that the person who commits suicide may end their suffering, but the horrible pain they put their family through never ends.  So I will live through this illness, no matter what.  



 It's the writing that kills the pain,

the writing that keeps me sane.

I don't speak directly much about this illness,

 but I do know now it's out to kill us.

Pushing us till we break,

seeing how much we can take,

from the sadness there's no real escape,

it tricks us, whispers, "Death is what it takes."

An end to the absence of any love,

 the doubting the reason for our existence,

 of running around in circles,

 begging somewhere- for someone to miss us.

But nowhere no one ever does,

 just an endless absence of real love,

one foot in the abyss,

one step away from bliss,

 my life has come down to this,

goals and dreams have gone amiss,

give this life one final kiss...

              Heather Brown

For more information on her book, her poetry or to contact Heather directly please visit her website:   

AFSP Indiana is happy to allow a forum for Hoosier Survivors to share their stories of inspiration and triumph with others in our state, however, We want to be sure to clarify that AFSP has not reviewed this piece of literature and therefore does not endorse it.

LGBTQ Initiative

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Recognizing the need for research, awareness and education on suicide and suicide risk among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals, AFSP sponsored a 2007 conference on this topic in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Two dozen invited experts -- including suicide and health researchers, clinicians and policy advocates -- summarized and discussed research findings, made recommendations to address knowledge gaps and began discussing the implications of research findings for reducing suicidal behavior in LGBTQ people.

Since that meeting, AFSP has funded several research grants related to LGBTQ suicide, further expanding the knowledge base. These include a study on the use of Family-Based Attachment Therapy with LGBTQ youth and an in-depth analysis of longitudinal data obtained from a nationally-representative sample of adolescents and young adults, which allows LGBTQ youth to be contrasted with those who identify as heterosexual or straight. (Multiple studies in the United States and abroad have shown that lesbian, gay and bisexual adolescents attempt suicide at a rate three to six times that of comparably aged heterosexual youth.)

AFSP has also been vocal about anti-gay bullying and its detrimental effects on the mental health of young people, and has worked with the Annenberg Public Policy Center to improve the way this topic and other aspects of suicide are covered in the media.

In 2009, AFSP received a grant from the Johnson Family Foundation to develop a project aimed at applying what is currently known about LGBTQ suicide risk to reduce suicidal behavior in these populations. Through this Knowledge to Practice Initiative, AFSP is working to lay the foundation for a national LGBTQ suicide prevention effort by establishing partnerships with leading national and state organizations.

In January 2010, during the AFSP Chapter Leadership Conference, a group of AFSP chapter representatives met to discuss the most pressing LGBTQ mental health issues and how to meet those needs in their regions. Out of that meeting, the AFSP Chapter Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues was born. Since then, chapter volunteers have expressed enthusiasm and dedication to bring better understanding of suicide into their local LGBTQ communities, and for changes to state and federal policies that directly affect the mental health of, and suicide prevention among, LGBTQ people.

AFSP is currently working to complete a review of research and recommendations on LGBTQ suicide and suicide risk. In addition to providing input into this report, the Chapter Advisory Committee has developed and submitted to the AFSP Public Policy Council its recommendations about legislative and regulatory initiatives affecting LGBTQ people. Further, in an effort to educate mainstream suicide prevention organizations, LGBTQ health/rights groups and the general public, the advisory committee is working to create LGBTQ mental health educational resources and training tools.

In April 2010, AFSP also participated in an expert panel discussion on anti-gay bullying alongside The Trevor Project, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the Hetrick-Martin Institute. The event was hosted and filmed by In the Life Media and distributed to educators, counselors and activists across the nation. To view the event trailer, click here.

AFSP is dedicated to playing a lead role in the effort to prevent LGBTQ suicide.

The 2007 conference on LGBTQ suicide and suicide risk was sponsored by AFSP, the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation. The LGBTQ Initiative is currently being funded by a grant from the Johnson Family Foundation.

For more information, volunteer opportunities, Walk or Lifekeeper Quilt information, Advocacy Information, Survivor Support information, or if you have questions or concerns: please contact the Chapter at the information listed below.
Please feel free to forward this letter using the forward link at the bottom of this page. 
We certainly hope to meet you at one of the Indiana Walks in the coming months.  If you have an inspiring survivor story that you would like to share with our readers, please submit it via email along with a picture (if you would like to include one).  Please be sure that the story is in word format and the picture is a jpg file so that it can be easily added to our newsletter. 
Also, visit our chapter pages at search Indiana 
and visit us on Facebook (feel free to share your story, art work and poetry written by a loved on lost by suicide, share your photos from an AFSP Indiana event and connect with others with a similar passion) 
Lisa Brattain - Board Chair
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Indiana Chapter
P.O. Box 1793
Noblesville, Indiana 46061
Silence the Stigma! Join us in our efforts to educate, raise awareness & support survivors of suicide loss
In the US, every 15.2 minutes someone dies by suicide. Every 16 minutes someone is left to make sense of it.
In This Issue
Out of the Darkness 2010
National Survivors of Suicide Day
Survivor Spotlight
Article Headline
Lifekeeper Quilt
National Suicide Prevention Week
Depression Toolkit
Featured Article
Featured Article
Quick Links

LifeKeeper Quilt

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If you are interested in creating a memory quilt square to be added to the Lifekeeper quilt for Indiana, please contact Lisa Davis at
We would like to have the quilt ready to be displayed for the 2010 Walk season and need time to complete the quilt prior to the events.  If you currently have a quilt square packet, please be sure to return your square to us in the envelope provided as soon as possible so that we can get to work on the sewing job. Currently we have approximately 40+ square packets pending and need to have those turned in quickly.
Please contact Lisa Davis with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the transfer process or if you are unsure of how to complete your square.  For those who did their square with a support group- Group Leaders: please encourage individuals from your group to get finish those and get them returned quickly.
Lisa Davis worked to get a grant from her employer to cover the expense of this project.  THANK YOU LISA D!  We are no longer asking for financial contributions for participation, although donations are greatly appreciated.  This PROGRAM IS FREE.
Thank you,
Lisa B & Lisa D

National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day 2010

AAS logo
36th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week September 5-11, 2010
World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10th
 Are you planning an awareness or education event in honor of Prevention Week, We would love to hear about it!

Depression Toolkit

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Depression is REAL, and you have REAL options! 
"Let me introduce you to the most important person in your treatment team... YOU!"
University of Michigan Depression Center

SPAN USA / Advocacy  

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AFSP/SPAN USA is about turning awareness to action! 

There are many things you can do to make a difference in helping to prevent future suicides in America--- even things you can do right this minute. If you do just one thing today, make sure you take the first step by signing up for AFSP/SPAN USA's Field Advocate Program.

There are thousands of lives at stake-and simply no time to waste.  Here are a several ways that YOU can start making a difference right now!

Get Involved:

Get informed:

Spread the word:

Connect with your community:

Show your support:

Remember, suicide affects every community--- and everyone can make a difference.

Take action now, and help us open minds, change policy, and save lives!

 Within the next month, we will have a date secured for an advocacy training in Indiana, and we are planning a Capitol Visit Day for February

Interactive Screening Program


AFSP Interactive Screening Program Listed in Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention

AFSP is pleased to announce that the Interactive Screening Program, developed by the Foundation, has been designated as a Best Practice, following review by a panel of outside experts.

Using program guidelines developed jointly by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and AFSP, the expert reviewers determined that the ISP met standards of accuracy, safety and likelihood of meeting stated objectives. The ISP has been listed in the Section III of the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention.

Outcomes data collected through a three-year evaluation of the ISP at two universities is being submitted for review by the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. If approved by NREPP, the ISP will also be listed in Section I of the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry. 

A fact sheet describing the ISP is being developed and will soon be posted on the SPRC website ( 

For additional information about the ISP, contact Dr. Ann Haas, AFSP director of prevention projects, at (207) 236-2475 or

The Indiana Chapter is interested in sponsoring the use of ISP at 2 or 3 area colleges.  If your college may be interested and would like more information, please contact Lisa Brattain at 317.774.1377